Throughout evolution, body hair has served many functions. It protects our tender skin from the sun, temperature extremes, bites, and even makes detecting bed bugs easier. Despite all these wonderful functions, society has deemed some of it good and some of it bad. For instance, most agree that eyebrows should come in pairs and that nipple hair isn’t really a preferred trait of either gender.
Women, of course, get the short end of the stick on this one. Basically, the less hair the better.
No matter what part of your body you’re trying to shave, people with psoriasis have to take extra precautions.
Psoriasis, which affects roughly 7.5 million Americans, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes your body to incorrectly attack healthy tissues. The most common version is plaque psoriasis, which causes patches of thick red skin that shed silvery scales.
Besides being more prone to nicks and cuts, these patches are easily irritated by shaving.
Shaving Your Legs
While winter makes psoriasis symptoms worse, it also brings the advantage of not having to shave your legs as much! But when it is time to shave your legs, here are some tips for people with psoriasis:
1. Wait a few minutes.
Shaving your legs shouldn’t be your first duty in the shower. Allow time for your leg hair to soften and your follicles to open up.
2. Take your time.
Rushing through shaving only increases your risk of cutting yourself, especially around the knees, where psoriasis loves to flare up. If you are in a rush, consider wearing pants.
3. Don’t dry shave.
The idea alone should be enough to make you shudder — whether you’ve got psoriasis or not. Use some kind of lubricating agent. Instead of using soap, you could try something creamier and less intense, like hair conditioner.
4. Shave in the direction of the hair.
Shaving against the grain may get you a closer shave, but that’s also how you can irritate your skin. Maybe you need to repeat a few more times, but it’s always safer to go in the direction of your hair.
5. Don’t use single-blade razors.
Buying a multiple blade razor is a wise choice. The extra blades increase the surface area and can help prevent irritation.
After you’re done shaving and showering, apply moisturizers and medications as you already do.
Shaving Your Underarms
Some people develop psoriasis patches in their armpits, making it another sensitive area for shaving. Besides the tips mentioned above, here are more on keeping irritation at bay.
1. Ease up a bit.
Pressing your razor too hard, especially in the delicate crevice that is your armpit, makes cuts, scratches, and irritation more likely.
2. Hold off on the deodorant.
Not entirely, mind you, but give your skin a chance to breathe before you apply any deodorant. Also make sure your deodorant isn’t gel-based, because those are more likely to irritate the skin.
3. Skip the antiperspirant.
Deodorants are normally fine, but the aluminum-based compounds found in antiperspirants can also unnecessarily irritate skin. This is even more so with strongly scented antiperspirants.
Shaving Your Face
Men who have psoriasis know the pains of shaving daily, especially during a flare-up. Here are a few ways guys can get a decent shave without causing any irritation in the face.
1. Shave in the shower.
The warm water of your shower helps soften your hair and open your follicles, making shaving easier. To prevent accidental cuts, placing a small mirror in your shower might also be a good idea.
2. Invest in a good razor.
Those single-blade disposable razors are fine in a pinch, but guys should use something better. Try multiblade razors to help reduce cuts and irritation.
3. Replace your blade often.
You shouldn’t be scraping your face with a dull razor. Joining a shaving club, like Dollar Shave Club, can make replacing your blades regularly much easier.
4. Avoid alcohol-based gels or aftershave.
Using shaving creams instead of gels makes for a much smoother shave, and reduces the risk of cuts and irritation.
After you’re done shaving, apply some fragrance-free face moisturizer. It’ll calm you skin and keep you looking younger.
It’s also a wise idea to talk to your dermatologist for other tips on making shaving less of a hassle on you and your skin.